A Better Tomorrow (1986) poster
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 441 users
# of Watchers: 862
Reviews: 1 user
Ranked #3075
Popularity #9117
Watchers 441

This story is the tale of two brothers: one a successful counterfeiter and the younger a fledgling graduate of the HK police academy. The plot revolves around the split when the younger brother learns the other is a criminal and the efforts of the criminal brother to reform. Along the way are plenty of heists, double-crosses, and shootouts. (Source: IMDb) Edit Translation

  • English
  • 中文(台灣)
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Country: Hong Kong
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Aug 2, 1986
  • Duration: 1 hr. 35 min.
  • Score: 7.9 (scored by 441 users)
  • Ranked: #3075
  • Popularity: #9117
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

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Cast & Credits


A Better Tomorrow (1986) photo


24 people found this review helpful
Feb 13, 2014
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
Produced by Tsui Hark and directed by John Woo, the two brilliant filmmakers made the first heroic-bloodshed action film that inspired the majority of the world’s recent films of the same genre.

A Better Tomorrow was the film that launched John Woo reputation as an action director after few failures in other genres. Through this film, Woo broke the usual Hong Kong ways of making action films that should always be either Kung Fu or Wuxia; he made a gangster film that became an absolute classic.

The film itself has a deep involving plot. It’s true that I admire John Woo films because I am an action junkie and I am forever in love with violent films but that’s not everything that I love about Woo’s films. What I also appreciate is his ways of making us feel the characters and care for their destinies as well as the relationships between them. The story within A Better Tomorrow is not some shallow action telling; there is the suffering of characters, the angst, the friendship, the brotherhood, the loyalty, the sacrifice and the rest of John Woo favorite themes that he never fails to make them shine.

If we leave the drama behind, we get an amazing action film with well-choreographed gunfights even if they were in a lesser amount than John Woo’s later films “The Killer” and “Hard Boiled”. You see, the usual John Woo pie of making action (heroic-bloodshed genre) is: guns, lots of guns, many people (preferably dead more than alive), two (or sometimes three) heroes who kill and kill then kill again, explosions, crazy gunplay and bullets flying everywhere. A Better Tomorrow was the film that started it all.

The acting was great, this was also the film that launched Chow Yun Fat’s stardom and made him take a big leap of success as a films’ actor. After this, he took the main role in almost all John Woo Hong Kong films. Then there’s Ti Lung and Leslie Cheng as a somewhat third lead; the three of them had a great combination but Chow Yun Fat had the strongest performance.
The characters weren’t always cool; they had their own pathetic pitiful moments which help the audience relate to them. And let’s not forget that their development was quite wonderful.

The cinematography was nice; I recently re-watched this film and it wasn’t even obvious that this was made in the 80’s. Needless to say, this is a great re-watching material especially after a long time of first viewing.

Watch if:
- You like John Woo action films because this is the one that started it all.
- You enjoy gangster films with brotherhood and friendship themes.
- You’re in the mood for a great action film.

Do not watch if:
- You dislike Action or violent films.
- You dislike John Woo’s work.

A Better Tomorrow is a classic out of its genre and a deep action film that still feels so good even after 30 years.

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  • Movie: A Better Tomorrow
  • Country: Hong Kong
  • Release Date: Aug 2, 1986
  • Duration: 1 hr. 35 min.
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated


  • Score: 7.9 (scored by 441 users)
  • Ranked: #3075
  • Popularity: #9117
  • Watchers: 862

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